Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Allen and Sarah

Life Magazine Collection, Bulls in Tennessee. Photo by Edward Clark.
Moving backward one generation to my 4th-great-grandparents, I now turn to Allen Matthews and Sarah Davis. Allen and Sarah were likely married around 1835 or in the early 1830s in Smith County, Tennessee. The earliest available marriage records for Smith County begin in 1838. Sarah Davis was a daughter of Matthew Madison Davis and Elizabeth.

According to the 1900 US Census entry for Sarah, she had 14 children, but I am currently only aware of 10. Of the known children of Allen and Sarah, their names are below. If you are descended from this line and stumble onto my entry, please feel free to reach out with additional information.

Children of Allen and Sarah (the Matthews name is also often spelled in records as Mathews, Mathis)

- William Matthews, born 2 August 1836, died on 7 October 1922 (my 3rd-great-grandfather)
- Matthew Matthews, born in 1837, died in April 1877
- James Matthews, born in either 1837/1838
- John Matthews, born in 1841
- Cynthia E. Matthews, born in May 1844
- Allen Matthews, born in December 1846, died 19 December 1923 in Bryan, Oklahoma
- Wiley Simeon Matthews, born in 1849
- Thomas Anthony Matthews, born 28 December 1854, died in January 1922 in Grayson County, Texas
- Elijah Matthews, born in 1855 in Smith County, Tennessee
- Mary Francis Matthews, born on 7 August 1861 in Metcalfe County, Kentucky, died on 27 March 1955 in Metcalfe County

From the Daughters of the American Revolution Library in Washington DC, I was able to see some books on Smith County. Matthew Davis sold a tract of land on Defeated Creek to Allen Matthews on 2 July 1838. On the same day he also sold a tract of land to Elijah W. Davis. Elijah sold a tract of land to Allen Matthews on 4 November 1839.

Allen Matthews swapped ten acres with Daniel Smith on 25 November 1841. On 4 March 1845, Allen bought 25 acres from Allen Crowell, and sold 30 acres to Crowell. Crowell had bought 200 acres from Matthew Davis on 30 April 1842, so perhaps some of the land Allen purchased had originally belonged to Matthew.

Allen bought another tract of land from John Page on 30 November 1846. He transferred a tract to Elizabeth Matthews on 17 February 1847.

1850 US Census, Smith County, Tennessee
In the 1850 US Census, Allen, Sarah and family were living in Smith County, north of Cumberland and east of Caney Fork Rivers. Their son Matthew is seen living in the household with his young wife Darthula C. Hunt. They were married in the county on 17 May 1849.

Not all the records show an exchange of land. David P. Hodges sold a slave to Allen Matthews on 3 February 1857. In the record she is listed as a "negro girl." The 1850 Census slave schedules shows David P. Hodges owned several slaves, including one girl who was 4 years old in 1850. This girl was probably the same one, meaning she was born about 1846 and was likely a child of the slave man and women who were 25 and 24 in the 1850 record. This girl would have been about 11 in 1857. I cannot tell what happened next to the girl.

On 20 January 1859, Allen Matthews sold 128 acres to Armstead Moore in Smith County, Tennessee. This was probably the sale of the family farm and all their property in the state, as they next appear in the 1860 US Census in Metcalfe County, Tennessee.
1860 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Allen Matthews died sometime before the 1870 US Census, as he does not appear in the document. In 1870, Sarah was managing the farm on her own with younger sons Thomas and Elijah and older son Allen living next door with new wife Margaret Caroline Flowers.
1870 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Sarah's daughter Cynthia is shown with a two-year-old son, John L. Herring. The father is not listed, but I think it is 21-year-old John L. Herring, living four homes away on the same page in the census.

The 1880 US Census shows that Sarah's parents were both from North Carolina, which matches other known information about Matthew and Elizabeth Davis.
1880 US Census, Metcalfe County, Kentucky
Sarah's daughter Mary Francis appears in the household with husband James Williams and son Robert A. Williams.

The 1900 US Census shows Sarah Matthews (here spelled Mathews) still as the head of household. This entry shows she was born in May 1815, and had 14 children, with 7 still living. Her son John Matthews was still living with her.

Sarah does not appear in the 1910 US Census, therefore she likely died sometime between 1900 and 1910. She must have been a hardy woman to maintain the farm over 30 years after Allen's early death.

One more bit of useful information, on Mary Francis Mathews' marriage record to James Williams, it says that Mary's father was from Warren County, Tennessee, while her mother was from Smith County, Tennessee. Warren County is south of Smith County, but still close. I will need to check early Warren County records for references to the Matthews/Mathews family.

Based on my AncestryDNA results, I know there are many descendants for this Matthews family who may be out there. Again, if you stumble onto this page and have additional information about Allen or Sarah Davis Matthews and their family, please let me know.

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